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The War On Terror


Vice

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This topic seems to have arisen in a few threads recently, in different ways. So, I thought it'd be productive and stimulating to have all the discussion in one place of the many different issues in the War On Terror. Especially now that we're in an interesting time. The War on Terror is a decade old, and it really does feel like the day we "got" Bin Laden could have just been the whole War on Terror, doesn't it?

 

With the withdrawal from Iraq by Christmas (which will see a few thousand military personnel staying there in bases, by the way), does it even feel like this war is over? Can it ever be over? The term itself, "War on Terror", suggests a perpetual war, which is what this seems to be; bombing the shit out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, etc.

 

The first objection that springs to mind, for me, is the dishonesty of our war discourse. The term "War on Terror" immediately draws a line which obviously says, "Only what they do is terror." Completely hypocritical. What we and the US have done over in the last few decades all over the world has been pretty much nothing but mass terror. A few examples:

 

- Chile, 1973. The original 9/11. Chile democratically elects a socialist, Salvador Allende. He wants to nationalize the country's copper mines. Nixon gives orders to "make the Chilean economy scream" and creates blockades in the country. The CIA support a military coup that sees the government's buildings bombed, President Allende killed, General Pinochet take power and hundreds of thousand of civilians killed, tortured and exhiled as the US takes control of Chile's economy. But who even knows about this? Was it ever mentioned during the ten-year anniversary of "the" 9/11?

 

- Nicaragua, 1980s. The Nicaraguans overthrow a US-backed dictator. Raegan steps in with mass atrocities, and the US is condemned by the World Court for its teror and told that it owes the country massive reparations. The US ignores this.

 

- Iran, 1953. The US installs and backs The Shah, a brutal dictator.

 

The last example brings me back to the current war and its dishonesty. It's mind-boggling that anyone would fall for a line as disingenuous as, "They hate us for our freedom." I'm not justifying any acts of terror at all, but there are legitimate, severe grievances in The Middle East against us, not because they hate our freedoms, but because we actively block theirs and have done for decades. And we do it to keep control of the region and their resources, clearly. But we have no right invading, occupying or meddling in those countries in the first place. If we thought there'd never be any blowback from that, we're absolutely mental.

 

The reaction to 9/11 - bombing and invading countries (illegally, I might add) - seems both an over-reaction and a case of "treating" the symptoms instead of the causes (those being our backing of harsh dictorships; supplying them with weapons and diplomatic support). I don't know how anyone can justify full-scale wars off the back of a terrorist attack, and it's obviously making the threat of terror worse, not eradicating it.

 

Imagine living in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan and seeing your whole city bombed to smithereens. I'm sure you'd be furious too. On that note, these current drone attacks are a disgrace. They're meant to be killling militants (which is in itself an illegal, extra-judicial killing), but what about the innocents who die? How do you know you've even properly identified or targeted the correct person? Things like that are only going to inflame tensions further and create militants.

 

I'm ashamed of the fact that we've used torture too. But it's only recently that I learned just how ugly and vile the situation was. I knew about waterboarding, but it's even more sickening that, in secret prisons and in Guantanamo, we've used exposure to extreme temperature, stress positions, sleep deprivation, sexual humilation and strikes to the knees and gut, and that over a hundred people have died in our custody. And that's not even going into the Abu Ghraib scandal and the fact that we've sent people to other countries for even worse torture. Again, all things that no doubt amplify hatred against us.

 

I'm sorry if some of the stuff I've mentioned is blatantly obvious to some people, but I think it's important for it all to be stated. The extent of, for want of a nicer word, ignorance ranges from people who, understandably, know practically nothing of the terrorism and atrocities we've committed across South America and the Middle East to those who still believe the Iraq war was necessary.

 

To sum up, I think the War on Terror is really shameful. We've got the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians on our hands in completely illegal bombings, and we've totally lost our moral compass (if and when it ever existed) in both holding prisoners and killing people without a trial. And the double standards are astounding, morally and legally. I think anyone with their head screwed on properly can see that the correct response to terror is a legal one, and that Bush, Obama, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Blair are all guilty of major terror and war crimes themselves. Does anyone really think they should be murdered in the street and their corpses paraded in a meat cooler like Gaddafi's was? Does anyone really think the US and Britain should be invaded? Of course not. The people I mentioned should be put on trial and brought to justice. As should "regular" terrorists and war criminals.

 

What's your view? Are you for or against the War on Terror? Has it done any good? Do you see invasions, drone attacks or torture as in any way justified?

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I have a feeling you'll be preaching to the converted on here. Nobody should need reminding that US foreign policy has been far and away the most destructive force in world politics in the last half century.

I wonder how much the broader public opinion reflects this. It seems like what we get in mainstream media is primarily fearmongering and warmongering. It'd be amazing if the likes of John Pilger and Noam Chomsky were given more prominence.

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To be honest I believe that we have improved the quality of life for many of the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq. Taliban support has been diminishing every year since 2001. and Yes alot of citizens have been killed but thousands of US citizens were killed due to the actions of Al Quaeda too.

 

I do dislike the reasons why we went in there as they were due to the benefit of us and not them but I do think NATO should overthrow evil regimes. I would like to see us democratise (is that a word?) every country in the world but unfortunately that wont happen unless theres a direct interest for us.

 

What I also dont like is when people seem to have some image of the US and UK coming in and destroying some wonderful, peaceful utopian society where everyone was happy and the children laughed and played in the street with gumdrop smiles.

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I do dislike the reasons why we went in there as they were due to the benefit of us and not them but I do think NATO should overthrow evil regimes. I would like to see us democratise (is that a word?) every country in the world but unfortunately that wont happen unless theres a direct interest for us.

 

Interesting use of the word 'evil'. We're very lucky to have been born in a country that's perenially stayed on America's good side, but the fact they haven't directly harmed us doesn't make the actions of successive US regimes any less evil.

 

What I also dont like is when people seem to have some image of the US and UK coming in and destroying some wonderful, peaceful utopian society where everyone was happy and the children laughed and played in the street with gumdrop smiles.

 

Such a viewpoint would be naive in the extreme. But an outsider might look at British or American society, with their riots, strikes, police suppression of peaceful protest, and disparity between the sickeningly wealthy and the many living in poverty, and wonder what the fuck right 'we' have to impose our idea of how a society should be run on anyone.

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Such a viewpoint would be naive in the extreme. But an outsider might look at British or American society, with their riots, strikes, police suppression of peaceful protest, and disparity between the sickeningly wealthy and the many living in poverty, and wonder what the fuck right 'we' have to impose our idea of how a society should be run on anyone.

 

Obviously we don't live in a perfect society. But I don't think anyone can say Iraq and Afghanistan (both pre and post war) have a better standard of living than the US or UK.

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The evil regimes bit...

 

Crikey, please stop being manipulated by the BULLSHIT in the media!

 

That is all :)

 

What are you on about? Gaddafi was a sick and evil man that gave everyone in his country free education, healthcare and a home.

Exactly :thumbsup:

 

Yeah that must be why his own citizens rebelled and killed him

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I'd say the women of Afghanistan have good reason to call the regime there "Evil", they were denied work, education and a lot of freedom before the Taliban were overthrown. Women if Afghanistan fear the west leaving in case the old ways return.

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The evil regimes bit...

 

Crikey, please stop being manipulated by the BULLSHIT in the media!

 

That is all :)

 

What are you on about? Gaddafi was a sick and evil man that gave everyone in his country free education, healthcare and a home.

Exactly :thumbsup:

 

Yeah that must be why his own citizens rebelled and killed him

 

Most didn't, it was the extreme religious "rebels" who were against his civilized laws and were planning to dissolve any law that would be seen as "anti-islamic". Mahmoud Jibril mysteriously changed his whole stance at the last second, probably doing as he was told by the same western goons who helped them by killing countless civilians.

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Most didn't, it was the extreme religious "rebels" who were against his civilized laws and were planning to dissolve any law that would be seen as "anti-islamic". Mahmoud Jibril mysteriously changed his whole stance at the last second, probably doing as he was told by the same western goons who helped them by killing countless civilians.

You've been around here long enough to know that arguing with Krazy is futile. He won't listen to you.

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I'd say the women of Afghanistan have good reason to call the regime there "Evil", they were denied work, education and a lot of freedom before the Taliban were overthrown. Women if Afghanistan fear the west leaving in case the old ways return.

 

To be honest I believe that we have improved the quality of life for many of the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq. Taliban support has been diminishing every year since 2001. and Yes alot of citizens have been killed but thousands of US citizens were killed due to the actions of Al Quaeda too.

 

According to John Pilger, Afghanistan is still in an absolute state because we've given fuck-all money to rebuild it, it's still torn apart by warlords and the women's situation is hardly better:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI6DRJXUYOQ

 

And why is it better if those thousands of people die in our name?

 

I do dislike the reasons why we went in there as they were due to the benefit of us and not them but I do think NATO should overthrow evil regimes. I would like to see us democratise (is that a word?) every country in the world but unfortunately that wont happen unless theres a direct interest for us.

Were we and the US not evil when we illegally invaded Iraq and bombed Afghanistan? Or overthrew democratically elected governments in Brazil, Chile, Iran, Guatemala and dozens of other countries? What about when we imposed sanctions on Iraq that prevented people from getting food, water and medicine?

 

Even if our intentions were benevolent in spreading democracy, I think we should let self-determination and real freedom take place. People clearly want democracy - they don't want its forced import or other people meddling or making things potentially worse, which (as proven) has also been inherently massively dangerous for us to do.

 

What I also dont like is when people seem to have some image of the US and UK coming in and destroying some wonderful, peaceful utopian society where everyone was happy and the children laughed and played in the street with gumdrop smiles.

No one's saying that. But we have no right to interfere and certainly no right to cause massive atrocities and make situations worse.

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